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Top 10 Most Controversial Adverts

Written by Top 100 Arena on 2012-07-11
Advertisements are a very significant part in the marketing campaign of any business enterprise. From a simple pin to a luxurious car, every single object is advertised in the modern era. But sometimes either intentionally or unintentionally, the marketer plays with the emotions of the masses. The key grievances are the sexual nature and the display of cruelty to animals. ASA, Advertising Standards Authority, is held responsible for these controversial advertisements. It can uphold the charges imposed on the ads as well as can discard them. There have been many controversial adverts witnessed by the masses but the top 10 go as mentioned below:

10 Durex

Item 10

This television advert was of condoms. It came on the television sets before 11am and in the late evening which as per the complainants is the prime time of young children watching the TV. The masses thus objected to its broadcast. Approximately 150 complaints were received against the advert. But the ASA partially agreed with the accusations, agreeing to the fact that the advert was not suitable to all sections of society. But since the ad did not contain any explicit sexual scenes, the ASA gave orders to reschedule the timings of broadcasting the advert.

9 Marmite

Item 9

Marmite was well known for their “you either love it or hate it” themed campaigns. In 2010, Marmite broadcasted two television adverts imitating humorously party political leaders. The hate party pledged to introduce the “marmite-eating” zones across Britain. They also sought to enforce the name “Tarmite” instead of Marmite. The Love Party promised to spread love of Marmite and tried to promote its relishing taste and vitamins B. Marmite-flavored pencils were introduced in schools.

8 Cardell Media

Item 8

This advert consisted of a torn newspaper or a magazine page with a handwritten post on it, saying “Hi, I saw this and thought you would find it useful- he’s really good! J”. The ad was accused to be pretentious and the claims made within it were challenged. The ASA received approximately 185 complaints against it and all these complaints were upheld. The advertisers were told to mend their ways as early as possible.

7 Irn-Bru

Item 7

Featuring cute cartoon characters, chirpy music and a Pied Piper type figure, there were around 204 complaints against this advert. But things turned more serious when the animals were led to a butcher shop. This ad was already under a restriction of not being broadcasted around programs targeted at children. In spite of this the ASA received a number of objections against it saying that the ad was irresponsible and offensive. ASA found that under the earlier restrictions, the act could be broadcasted. More info

6 Oven Pride

Item 6

In this advertisement a voice-over says “so easy even a man can do it”. This ad rose the gender stereotypes and received about 273 complaints. The ASA felt that the ad was comical in its approach and did not aim at causing offence to either men or women. More info

5 John Lewis

Item 5

This advert attracted complaints of irresponsible ownership of pets. The advert shows a boy hanging up a Christmas stocking but leaving his dog out in chilly winds and snow. The people objecting the ad claimed that the ad suggested that it was not an offence to leave a pet outside in poor weather conditions. But the ASA completely disagreed with the objections and claimed that the ad did not encourage cruelty to pets in any ways. More info

4 Maritalaffair.co.uk

Item 4

This hoarding poster for maritalaffair.co.uk was really controversial. It showed a man’s naked torso with a woman’s bra over his shoulder. The headline read “Hello Girls”. It attracted complaints saying that the hoarding implied that the extra-marital affairs are desirable in society. The concept of the website was not relished by the masses, rather was considered immoral. But the ASA claimed that it could only consider the misleading content of the advert and not the services provided by the site. The 420 complaints were not upheld by the ASA. More info

3 Advert by Department of energy and climate change

Item 3

This advert was all about dangers of CO2. It shows a girl being told a bedtime story by her dad. As her father is reading the fairytale, a voice-over tells of the harmful effects of CO2. It shows black smoke rising up from an urban scene forming a dangerous cloud in the shape of a hideous monster. When the girl asks her father of there being a happy ending, the voice states that it depends on us to decide our fate. People complaining against the ad stated that the ad was scary. The ASA discarded all the 939 complaints.

2 Marie Stopes abortion advert

Item 2

This ad was all about sexual health advice, services and information. It attracted several complaints from all genres of the society. Some people claimed that the advert promoted abortions. But the ASA discarded the complaints against this advert and said that the ad did not trivialize the dilemma of an unplanned pregnancy. Therefore, the ASA did not uphold the 1088 complaints. In addition to the 1088 complaints, around 3600 other petitions were received against this advert in UK in 2011. More info

1 Paddy power blind football advert

Item 1

This ad was one of the most controversial ads in the history of television. The advert opens up with two teams of blindfolded men. A cat running on the pitch is kicked by a player, followed by the sound of a loud cat cry. Masses complained of it being offensive to both the blind people and animals. Some stated that it promoted animal cruelty and made fun of blind people. But the ASA claimed that the advert was unreal and surreal. It did not intend to promote cruelty to animals therefore ASA discarded all the 1313 complaints. More info

Thus, these advertisements though created hustle-bustle on the television screens, many of the accusations against these were discarded by the ASA.

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